Oppose SB1100 and decreased protection from drilling in PA

PennEnvironment
Last updated: 12/29/2011

Organizational letter sent to members of the Pennsylvania Senate

Dear Senator, 

On behalf of PennEnvironment’s citizen members, I am writing in opposition to pending Marcellus Shale legislation in the state Senate, SB1100, in its current form.  Instead, I ask you to support strengthening amendments being offered to fix this legislation.  If these amendments are not included as part of SB1100, PennEnvironment asks you to oppose this legislation when it comes up for a final vote in the Senate.

SB1100 has become the omnibus legislation offered by the Senate majority meant to tackle some of the pressing and ongoing issues related to Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, the legislation has been drafted in a way to help the gas industry more than the residents of Pennsylvania.

Specifically, PennEnvironment asks you to oppose language in SB1100 that will limit a municipality’s ability to protect its residents or that weakens or standardizes municipal zoning authorities; to support a higher impact fee for the industry—one that comes into line with traditional impact fee or severance tax rates across the nation—versus supporting a fee that is so low that the Harrisburg Patriot News editorial staff referred to it as “corporate welfare;” to increase funding through the impact fee to renew Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program (the current language of SB1100 will allocate approx.. $10 million annually to the Growing Greener program, a drop in the bucket compared to the program’s needs); to increase bonding to a rate that can cover the true potential costs of plugging, reclaiming, cleaning up and restoring gas drilling sites; and lastly, to dramatically improve the environmental standards in SB1100.

Instead, PennEnvironment asks you to support amendments that are expected to be offered when SB1100 comes to the Senate floor for consideration.

This includes supporting amendments that will do the following:

  1. Remove language from SB1100 that limits local control beyond existing state law.
  2. Improve environmental protections in SB1100 for Pennsylvania’s rivers, streams and drinking water supplies;
  3. Increase the impact fee rate on wells so that a commonsense fee is implemented, and that will allocate more money to renew the Growing Greener program.’
  4. Set commonsense bonding rates for gas drilling companies;

Unless SB1100 is amended to address these problems, PennEnvironment asks you to oppose SB1100. 

We ask you to vote YES on these amendments, and if these amendments fail to vote NO on final passage of SB1100.

Please don’t hesitate to call me or email me to discuss this legislation, and thanks in advance for your consideration on this issue.

Sincerely

David Masur, Director
PennEnvironment